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Andlinger Center Events

Highlight Seminar: Storage to Enable a 100% Renewable Electric Grid

Date: May 12, 2022

Time: 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 pm

Location: Maeder Hall Auditorium

Storage to Enable a 100% Renewable Electric Grid

Yet-Ming Chiang

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is a key pathway to mitigation of climate change. Remarkable innovations in and scaled production of Li-ion battery technology over the past two decades could allow hour-to-hour and day-to-night variability in wind and solar generation to be largely accommodated. However, multi-day lulls in renewable generation currently challenge the electric grid’s ability to provide firm (dispatchable and always-available) power. Affordable and reliable long-duration storage is needed.  In order to effectively compete on a cost basis with natural gas generation, system-level storage costs will need to be $20 per kilowatt hour or less. This talk will compare performance requirements for long- and short-duration storage applications, including where trades unacceptable at short-durations may be relaxed for long-duration batteries. Consideration of these criteria, alongside the equally important requirement of materials availability and manufacturing scalability that may need to reach installed storage capacity of ~100 TWh worldwide by midcentury, narrows the technological options. Of these, the rechargeable iron-air battery emerges as a promising option, for reasons that will be elaborated in the talk.

Yet-Ming Chiang is the Kyocera Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT, where his research focuses on clean energy technologies including non-aqueous and aqueous batteries for transportation and grid-scale storage, and electrochemical production of construction materials.  He has brought several laboratory discoveries to commercial implementation, including the development of high-power lithium iron phosphate batteries, a semi-solid electrode approach to low-cost lithium-ion battery manufacturing, and batteries for long-duration grid storage. He has published about 300 scientific articles and holds about 100 issued U.S. patents, of which more than 70 have been licensed to or are held by practicing companies. Chiang is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Ceramic Society, and the National Academy of Inventors.  His work in energy has been recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer Award (2016), the Economist’s Innovation Award (Energy and Environment Category, 2012), The Electrochemical Society Battery Division’s Battery Technology Award (2012), and an R&D 100 Editor’s Choice Award (2006). Chiang has co-founded several companies based on research from his MIT laboratory including American Superconductor Corporation (1987), A123 Systems (2001), 24M Technologies (2010), Desktop Metal (2015), Form Energy (2017), and Sublime Systems (2020).  He is co-director of the newly inaugurated Center for Electrification and Decarbonization of Industry at MIT.